When you’re a freelance writer, writing in a particular voice and with certain characteristics is vital. You can’t write like “you” all the time, unless you’re your only client. Instead, you have to learn to be a chameleon and write like whomever is necessary. Each brand and company has their own style and you have to be able to mimic it in order to succeed. It’s not always easy, but I’ve found that the following five tips can be a big help.
- Define the voice and characteristics.
Okay, this might sound obvious, but you can’t start writing like someone else unless you know how they write. A mimic is only as gifted as the material they have to work from. Unfortunately, many times there’s not a lot to begin with. This is when it’s up to you as the writer. Sit down with your client, speak with him/her, pick his/her brain, and then, in your own words, define your client’s voice. Friendly or professional? Colloquial or formal? “I” or “we”?
2. Write a sample and ask for feedback.
It’s important to understand and accept that you’re probably not going to get the voice down on your first try. That’s okay. Just be prepared to offer your client a sample, maybe even a few samples. Then, provide those samples to your client and get ready to modify, update, and improve your voice based on your client’s feedback. It might take you a few tries to get the voice down pat, but you’ll get there.
3. Find and read sample articles, books, and blogs in the desired voice.
Personally, I can struggle writing in a particular voice if I’m not immersed in that voice. When I write the Kevo Writing blog I’m extremely personable, colloquial, and laid back. Not many of my client’s prefer that same voice and so when I have to switch gears, it can be difficult. To get over this, I’ll spend a little while reading articles in the voice I want in order to get myself in the right frame of mind.
4. Practice. Practice. Practice.
When I find myself struggling to write in a specific style, I force myself to write in that style over and over again until I begin to feel more comfortable. With writing, most of the time it’s just a matter of getting over your internal brain block. Once I’ve written a few thousand words in a specific style, I’ve gotten the hang of it and it starts to flow.
5. Communicate with your client.
At the end of the day, voice has nothing to do with you. When you’re writing for a client, everything you write is to make your client happy and satisfied with your work. This means you need to be open to communication and willing to continually modify and improve. It’s a good idea to frequently go back to your client and check how they feel about your work. Even small feedback can help keep you on the right track.